The Fourth Estate or the Fourth Monkey?

Last updated : 23 January 2009 By Grandmaster Suck
In pre-Revolutionary France parliament consisted of the Three Estates - a Wikipedia entry describes them and the Fourth thus - " The First Estate consisted of three hundred clergy. The Second Estate, three hundred nobles. The Third Estate, six hundred commoners. Some years later, after the French Revolution, Edmund Burke, looking up at the Press Gallery of the House of Commons, said, 'Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.'"

Last year the Union Bears banner featuring Liewell's Monkeys - see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil - mocked the lack of collective moral fibre of the Scottish footballing pack when pondering the affairs of Celtic FC.

To that banner I'd suggest the addition of a fourth monkey - a refugee from a Typhoo Tea advert so cowardly it can only type on instructions from its puppetmaster.

Last week the Rangers Supporters Trust issued a list of questions for the directors, and in particular the Chairman and Chief Executive to answer. To be honest it was all fairly simple stuff and I don't think anyone was prepared for the coverage it got. Nor the lack of answers contained within the coverage where the analysis of the club's footballing and financial affairs was on a par with a 2nd year school magazine.

Consider the 17 points - all addressable - some would consider that none by itself would be a knock-out blow but together they paint a picture of a rudderless club which has spent the best part of the last decade limping from one low-grade crisis to another.

The killer point in the month's events is simple - does the putting up for sale of every player during the winter signing window strike you as the behaviour of a well-run club?

Sir David says no pressure from the bank but "the books have to be balanced." Yet after the Kaunus debacle when we knew we had no European income why was a spending spree authorised?

With season ticket and hospitality sales all tied up before a ball is kicked what income variables have changed since then?

That analysis of the situation may of course be wrong, but apart from "soldier on" what does the collective genius of the Scottish media offer as an alternative analysis?

Contrast and compare Celtic under the Bungling Board and Rangers under David Murray. You will search in vain for in-depth analysis of the debt - even when we hit £98million. You certainly won't find anyone saying "Rangers fans deserve better than this." You wont find a Bluenose version of Hugh Keevins campaigning for answers or chairing supporters public meetings.

Of course, this could all be a conspiracy by Timmy! Celtic fans for whom the status quo of downsizing and mediocrity is an merry feast? Or perhaps many of the leading lights have been bought off by a weekend in Gleneagles, or the Chairman's Jersey holiday home?

I can see it now - "remember no sticking the boot in chaps" - as the puppets salute while wearing Kiss Me Quick hats and scoff fish suppers.

Or maybe many simply lack the ability to see beyond the next interview?

Rather than address the issues we've seen a remarkable flurry of personal abuse and misinformation. Walter will take criticism seriously when he is sure 'they represent all Rangers fans.' Can we call an Albanian election? What is only 99.9% agree?

Chick Young went off at a rather bizarre tangent repeatedly asking if the Trust's Davie Edgar had a season ticket despite being told that he does and where he sits beside his dad when using it.

Spiers in his usual amateurish and smirking manner managed to both misunderstand and misrepresent reality in his desire to please Sir Dave now that his name has been placed back on the Ibrox freebie list and he is once again deemed fit to enter the great man's presence.

Spiers took a comment from Walter about the club's traditions - "We had a meeting with a group of Rangers supporters, and one of the things they complained about was that the club was 'drifting away from the traditions of Rangers'. But when the chairman asked 'which specific traditions?', nobody answered. There was silence."
- and then proceeded (19 January - Vocal minority do not speak for the modern Rangers supporter) to claim via a circuitous route that the Trust don't want Catholics playing for Rangers! Demented, but then Spiersy's obsession with the Trust often takes him into his own little fantasy world where he hears things others don't, fails to hear things, and fails to comment accurately on what he does hear.

Check your facts. The Trust has never had an exclusive meeting with Walter. One of our then Board members did however attend a meeting arranged by the Assembly to discuss things on the Friday before Cuellar was sold.

It might have been worthwhile if someone in the assembled gaggle of hacks had asked who had raised the traditions issue (and what in particular) and who remained silent. There's one thing for sure, our rep John Gilligan would not have remained either silent or unable to debate that area. Walter knows that - don't be shy to ask him if John was Chairman or just a member of his testimonial committee?

But research and keeping accurate records has never been Spiersy's strong point. I am led to believe he was recently having some problems with the Press Complaints Commission. Care to tell us what the outcome was Graham?

The normally readable Tom English in the Scotland on Sunday published a bizarre meandering column about Rangers fans and the internet and dismissed the opinions of those who use it.

It's a rather peculiar case to make by someone whose newspaper is online...

To dismiss the internet and the opinions of those who use it is about as sensible as those who would deny a child an education and then complain it can't write.

Th argument, such as it is, does betray a certain nervousness about fans poking their noses in where journos fear to tread. As with Spiers the target for Tom is the RST. Make no mistake Sir David Murray knows exactly who he has been speaking to and who his most voluble online RST critics are - one of our erstwhile Board members told him exactly who everyone is - so it's no secret. In fact such a non-secret that two of the usernames used by Tom to illustrate just happen to be of Trust Board members - what a coincidence that those two were chosen out of 32,000!

Far from being 'faceless internet warriors' the Trust has met with Sir David on more than a few times and we had a policy (not suitable to some I know...) of rotating those on delegations so that no-one got too comfy with the directors. So, Sir David has the faces of Glass, McNiven Gilligan, Smith, Edgar, Franklin, Sommerville, McMillan, Dingwall, Dinnie and Tweed to choose from.

So, Tom, I'd be careful in your next Luddite rant - presumably penned with a quill in a scriptorium - neither to rage against modernity nor to accept fairy stories which are handed down to you on a plate.